Church from below (GDR)

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The base group Church from Below (KvU) emerged as an oppositional Protestant group in the GDR .


The KvU was created in connection with the Protestant Church Congress in East Berlin in 1987 on the occasion of the city's 750th anniversary. The complicated relationship of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg to grassroots groups in their parishes, which accused the church leadership, among other things, of being too close to the state, resulted in decisions made by the church leaders such as the cancellation of the traditional peace workshop for 1987 in the run-up to the church conference at the turn of 1986/87 to the idea of ​​holding a “Church Day from Below” parallel to the Kirchentag. This took place from June 24th to 26th, 1987 in the rooms of the Pentecostal church on Kotikowplatz and in the neighboring Galilee church on Rigaer Straße and had more than 6000 visitors. It was opened by Vera Wollenberger and youth deacon Bernd Schröder. The focus was on social issues and there were events with artists critical of the system such as Stephan Krawczyk , Thomas Krüger , Detlef Opitz and Peter Wawerzinek . The Friedrichsfelde Peace Circle , the Peace and Human Rights Initiative , the Solidarity Church Working Group , the Environment Library and other oppositional peace, environmental and human rights groups presented their work here. During the closing event of the official Kirchentag, around 300 participants of the Kirchentag demonstrate from below in front of a limited public in the Alte Försterei stadium with banners that are critical of the system (e.g. " Glasnost in State & Church").

Due to the great interest and in order to urge the church to become more politically active, the initiators founded the national base group "Church from Below" (KvU) in September 1987 at an open work workshop , which from now on not only acts as an internal church opposition to church and church theological issues, but above all on many socio-political conflicts. In 1988 the KvU received its own rooms in the parish hall of the Elisabeth parish , and the Zionskirche with the environmental library located here was also used for activities.


These rooms soon became one of the important centers of activity for the GDR opposition movement , but were also used for cultural activities, e.g. B. the initiative Black Germans in the GDR around Rahman Satti or punk concerts. Among other things, the results of the independent vote count in the local elections in the GDR in 1989 were collated, evaluated and reproduced here. A library was set up on the premises of the KvU. An own printing machine was procured, on which the Böhlener platform was reproduced in autumn 1989 . Many members of the KvU such as Reinhard Schult , Uwe Kulisch, Walter Schilling , Silvio Meier , Dirk Moldt , Silke Ahrens, Jörg Zickler, Marion Seelig , Katrin Kadasch, Bodo Wolf, Fritz Kühn, Katharina Harich (former manager of Bettina Wegner ), Wolfgang Ernicke ("Speiche"), Dietmar Wolf, Dirk Teschner, Herbert Misslitz, Rolf Walter and Joe Müller were involved in the GDR resistance. A supraregional networking was intended since the “Kirchentag from below” and included mainly open work groups in Halle, Jena, Saalfeld, Dresden and other cities. The KvU is therefore counted among the groups that had a significant influence on the Peaceful Revolution in the GDR.


The Church from Below still exists as part of a (political) social project in Berlin-Pankow. It will u. a. Organized concerts. There is also a “kitchen for everyone” on Thursdays under the name “Fleischfresserasyl” and breakfast on Sundays.

She had to leave her traditional premises in Berlin-Mitte in 2014 after long disputes with the owners.

See also


  • KvU, Dirk Moldt : Miracles always happen. The chaos is gone, it was the best time. Fragments on the history of the open work Berlin and the church from below. Self-published by Church from Below, Berlin 1997.
  • Ehrhart Neubert : History of the Opposition in the GDR 1949–1989 , Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin, second, reviewed, expanded and corrected edition 2000, ISBN 3-89331-294-3 (Federal Agency for Civic Education, Series Volume 346), p 186, 579, 646, 685-690.

Web links

Commons : Church from Below  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Wolfgang Rüddenklau: Change of position. From the Friedenswerkstatt to the Kirchentag from below, in: Horch und Guck , 16. Jg., Issue 57 (1/2007), pp. 34–36 Article in the net  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  2. ^ Church from below on on  ( Federal Center for Civic Education  /  Robert Havemann Society  eV), viewed on March 8, 2017.
  3. Friedenskreis Friedrichsfelde on  ( Federal Center for Political Education  /  Robert Havemann Society  eV), viewed on March 8, 2017.
  4. Working Group Solidarity Church on  ( Federal Agency for Civic Education  /  Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft  eV), spotted on 8 March 2017th
  5. ^ Photos from the demonstration at the 1987 Kirchentag
  6. Rahman Satti, Head of Public Relations, Tolerance and Integration. Federal Agency for Civic Education, May 30, 2012, accessed on February 13, 2018 .